modinfo on the other Linux distribution shows me it's still on Linux 2.6.33. The driver you refer to is removed in recent Linux versions:
Author: Christian Lamparter <[email protected]>
Date: Fri Mar 25 20:21:55 2011 +0100
ar9170usb: purge obsolete driver
git branch -a --contains b0006e69615868
remotes/origin/HEAD -> origin/master
This indicates to me that
ar9170usb was removed from 3.0 onwards. I think it will be hard to get this module into a recent Ubuntu release.
So, taking a step back, getting the newer driver fixed seems a bit more constructive. In case you're on Ubuntu 12.04, try the backported Quantal kernel
linux-image-generic-lts-quantal package. If that doesn't fix it or if you're on Quantal already, try a more recent "mainline" kernel to see if your issue is fixed "upstream". This answer explains how to install pre-built mainline kernels in Ubuntu.